Dominican Celebrity Chef Gets Nine Years in Californian Jail for Plot to Kill Wife
December 14, 2010 -- Celebrity chef Juan Carlos Cruz smiled and winked at his wife Jennifer Campbell before being sentenced Monday to nine years in prison for allegedly trying to hire homeless men in Santa Monica to murder her.


Cruz -- who pleaded no contest earlier this year to solicitation of murder -- will likely serve half of the prison term, since he did not commit a serious violent felony, Defense attorney Shawn Chapman Holley told the superior court judge.

The 48-year old, who hosted the Food Network show "Calorie Commando, was arrested in May by Santa Monica police after a homeless man reported being offered $500 to kill his wife.

Prosecutors have not disclosed a motive, but police say they videotaped Cruz arranging the killing with several homeless men during a sting operation.

A celebrity website, which claims it has obtained a series of text messages between Cruz and the homeless men, reported the defendant wanted them to cut his wife's throat.

According to the website, called TMZ, the homeless men said Cruz gave them half of the $1,000 fee for the hit, as well as cell phones and box-cutters.

The son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Cruz came to the U.S. at age 3 and grew up in Arcadia.

Cruz, whose motto was "Keep the taste while you trim your waist," lost 43 pounds during the premiere season of Discovery Health Channel's "Body Challenge."

He was signed by the Food Network in 2004 to produce the television show "Calorie Commando," whichw was canceled in 2006 after Cruz produced 39 episodes.


Go back | Date: 16 Dec 2010
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